Buying Advice

AutomotiveMap Picks: Best Off-Roading Vehicles for Families

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

There are some SUVs that are great for carrying a large amount of cargo. Others that you can practically fit your entire extended family into. Some are great for easing down the road in style. The trucks and SUVs that made this list are proficient off-roaders that are also great for families.

To find the best ones, AutomotiveMap's writers have spent thousands of hours behind the wheel, in what some (those of us that like to get vehicles muddy and don't mind jostling around) may call "ideal circumstances". Here are our picks.

​2020 Subaru Outback

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America, Inc.

Jesus Garcia: The redesigned 2020 Subaru Outback is an all-wheel drive wagon that can do everything an off-road crossover can without looking like one. It serves as a great off-road adventure vehicle and alternative to anyone looking to avoid buying CUV.

​2020 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Nicole Wakelin: The 2020 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk is comfortable with room for the family and their stuff during the week and the capability to have fun on the weekends.

2020 Jeep Gladiator

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Harvey Briggs: Room for five, legendary jeep capability, and I can bring my dirt bikes with me? Sounds like my kind of family off-road adventure. The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is an easy choice for off-roading families.

2020 Jeep Wrangler

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Sue Mead: The 2020 Jeep Wrangler is a true off-road chops with iconic styling and 4WD hardware. It's also a modern-day road ride. The Rubicon model is available for extreme adventurers, but other trim levels can handle some pretty extreme off-roading. The new 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine has better fuel economy than the previous edition and potent torque.

Perry Stern, AutoNXT: The Wrangler is unmatched for off-road prowess, and the Unlimited offers room for the whole family with added thrill of removing the roof and doors.

Rolls-Royce Cullinan

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Eileen Falkenberg-Hull: Families deserve to go off-roading in style and the Cullinan is up to the task. I drove a version of the half-million dollar car up the face of Snow King Mountain and on the bumpy dirt roads of Grand Teton National Park during a full day of testing and was suitably impressed. Plus, it's the only Rolls-Royce model that seats five.

Genesis has debuted its new SUV. Another is soon on the way.

Photo courtesy of Genesis

An SUV is finally joining the Genesis lineup. This week the Korean automaker unveiled the GV80, its flagship model, showing that the design, engineering, and value proposition of Genesis sedans can carry over into a SUV.

Designed in collaboration between studios in South Korea, the United States, and Germany, the 2021 GV80 features many similar design elements to the recently redesigned 2020 Genesis G90. The Crest Grille sits on the face of the SUV while lines run from the grille and headlights back onto the body of the model.

2021 Genesis GV80 The GV80 has the Genesis Crest Grille at its front.Photo courtesy of Genesis

The GV80 has a commanding stance and looks like a luxury model even at first glance. The Quad Lamp headlights are a signature of the model, the same way they are the G90. The two models also share a G-Matrix pattern in light fixtures throughout the interior, which are inspired by orchids. The GV80 also has the pattern on its 22-inch wheels.

Genesis vehicles are known for being spacious and the GV80 appears to be no exception. The automaker says that the GV80, "focuses on 'the beauty of white space,' characteristic of the elegant South Korean architectural philosophy. The concept of 'luxury in space' defines the open feeling of the cabin of GV80, with the G-Matrix pattern as a motif."

The dashboard of the GV80 is centered by a 14.5-inch infotainment screen. Simplicity has reigned supreme in the cabin design with a special focus on keeping the number of buttons and switches to a minimum.


2021 Genesis GV80 The GV80 has many of the design characteristics of the Genesis G90.Photo courtesy of Genesis

At the center of the console is a dial-style shifter and a controller that features handwriting recognition, a technology used in Mercedes-Benz and BMW vehicles, among others.

2021 Genesis GV80 The interior of the GV80 is suitably plush.Photo courtesy of Genesis

Genesis has made augmented reality navigation which is described by Genesis as utilizing, "virtual driving guidelines over actual driving images to help drivers recognize roads. Video taken by the front-mounted camera will be displayed on the infotainment screen, and the optimal driving path will be displayed in a virtual graphic so that the driver can drive along the route easily and accurately."

The automaker is set on making the GV80 an "oasis." That includes covering the cabin with soft-touch materials from quilted knee pads to the center and installing the first application of the company's Road Active Noise Cancellation, which takes traditional noise cancellation technology a big step forward. The driver's seat has seven air cells to help drivers achieve maximum comfort. Heated and ventilated seats are available in the first two rows.

The GV80 comes standard with rear-wheel drive and has available all-wheel drive. GV80 AWD models will come standard with an electronically controlled limited slip differential at the rear.

2021 Genesis GV80 Genesis has specifically engineered the cabin of the model to be spacious.Photo courtesy of Genesis

The SUV's suspension is electronically controlled and features road preview, which recognizes the road ahead and optimizes the suspension for optimal comfort, similar to what the Lincoln Aviator's system does.

Genesis has plans to sell the GV80 with the buyer's choice between two turbocharged engines in the U.S.

Electronically controlled suspension with road preview, another Genesis first, helps provide passengers with optimal ride comfort by recognizing information on the road ahead in advance via the front camera.

2021 Genesis GV80 Each new GV80 comes with a long list of safety technology.Photo courtesy of Genesis

The new SUV features a number of new technologies for the Genesis brand including:

  • Smart Cruise Control with Machine Learning: A world first, SCC-ML advances the science and engineering behind smart cruise control. It is an artificial intelligence-based intelligent navigation technology that helps enable GV80 to independently learn the driving characteristics of its drivers and implement autonomous driving similar to that of human drivers.
  • Highway Driving Assist II: This system helps assist the driver in a wider variety of situations than before, including lane change when the turn signal is used, and helping to merge in congested situations.
  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist: This system is able to help automatically bring GV80 to a stop in certain situations where there is a risk of collision with an approaching vehicle on the left or right side of the intersection. GV80 is also able to help detect potential collision risks, if a pedestrian is in close proximity to the vehicle while in motion.
  • Blind-Spot Collision Avoidance Assist: BCA is essentially a Blind Spot Monitor with active capabilities. BCA helps reduce the chance of potential impact with a moving vehicle, upon departing a parallel parking spot as one example.
  • Rear Cross-traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist: This system uses rear side radar to help detect and prevent impact with obstacles.
  • Driver Attention Alert Warning: This system monitors the driver's attention when driving, by analyzing driving patterns and behaviors, including intermittent steering and unnatural deceleration, through vehicle signals, such as steering angle and steering torque and vehicle position in traffic lane. A forward-looking camera monitors the driver and will generate pop-up messages and warning tones when fatigue or forward-looking neglect is detected.

The 2020 Genesis GV80 will go on sale later this year. Pricing will be announced closer to the model's on-sale date.